Who is Mockingbird Education?
When Tamara Thompson first walked into an inner city classroom in Austin, Texas, she had no idea what the future held. Her background in Biology and specifically her Master's degree studies in animal behavior gave her a unique perspective about teaching and learning. She knew she wasn't a typical educator. She also knew that she wasn't interested in teaching traditional learners.
Fast forward, 16 years, and you'll find Tamara and her team of like-minded educators jetting across the globe conducting workshops, providing technical assistance, and writing curriculum to serve the most challenging of learners. Her motivation comes from knowing that 90% of jobs available today are inaccessible to dropouts and nearly nearly 8,300 learners drop out of school each day. Additionally, 75% of crimes are committed by dropouts.
While teaching, she began to favor unorthodox instructional strategies. Many of Tamara's learners had experienced years of unsuccessful learning experiences, and as a result, Tamara knew her learners were not going to respond to more of the same approach. Her learners entered her classroom, reluctant to participate, distrustful of the educator, and unable to sit for long periods of intense focus.
In response, Tamara began to focus on cognitive strategies that centered on attention and motivation. In a classroom, Tamara engaged learners in low-risk learning tasks that emphasized mental, emotional and physical participation. She focused on building learner confidence and esteem and began to emphasize the application of scientific behavioral principles such as positive reinforcement and shaping to encourage small steps toward the end goal. Her learners responded. Test scores increased dramatically. Teacher recognition awards were granted (Tamara is a former Teacher of the Year in Austin) and within a couple of years, Tamara was traveling nationally sharing her strategies, evidence, and success with other educators who shared her passion for working with struggling and vulnerable learners. While attending UNT's doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction, Tamara formalized Mockingbird as a business and the rest is history.
'I never intended to open a business" says Tamara. "But every workshop that we have given has been because of need. High risk programs can't find resources specifically for their context. There is a big difference between having a couple of high risk learners in a classroom and having an entire classroom filled with high risk learners. Mockingbird not only understands that, we specifically provide instructional strategies for this specific learning context".
Dedicated to providing academic and systemic resources to organizations that serve low socioeconomic and marginalized learning populations, Mockingbird Education provides professional development and technical assistance to programs that instruct out-of-school youth or adults in basic essential skills, high school equivalency skills, life skills, and workforce development skills.
Vulnerable learners are learners that are emotionally, socially, and/or developmentally susceptible to harm and whose existing range of options are severely limited by the barriers present in their lives.
Some of these barriers include:
- Academic deficiency
- Substance abuse
- Gang involvement
- Second language acquisition
- Lack of employability skills and training
- ABE certificate attainment challenges
These vulnerabilities and limitations impact learner success in a classroom. As learners, many many struggle with:
comprehending academic content
attention and self-regulation during classroom learning
behavior management challenges
regulating their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors
impulsive and sometimes self destructive behaviors
engagement, apathy, and motivation?
diagnosed and undiagnosed learning difference or disabilities
As a result, specialized instruction and support is needed to guide these learners through their classroom and instructional experience.
Mockingbird provides curriculum and instructional strategies and solutions in three target areas:
- Professional Development Workshops (see the Mockingbird Methodology)
- Curriculum Development
- Technical assistance and project management for educational initiatives in high risk education, adult education, and youth development.
Every Mockingbird Education service is individualized, allowing program administrators the ability to customized professional development, curriculum, and technical assistance that specifically targets their need. Our facilitators and consultants are certified and award winning educators that have devoted their careers to serving hard-to reach and resistance learners. Because we adapt our services to match current scientific research, we're always adjusting and individualizing our approach.
Mockingbird services are framed by core research and design principles within the fields of Cognition, Social Cognition, Learner Readiness, Active Learning, Humanistic Curriculum and Andragogy. These principles guide our philosophy, our services, and our advocacy.
All MB professional development workshops, products, and services are grounded in over 60 years of cognitive learning research and 16 years experience providing professional development in alternative, traditional education, and CBO networks.
Because many different types of programs and individuals serve hard-to-reach and challenging learners, our clients are represented by a diversity of organizations and disciplines. As a result, Mockingbird has served clients in over 35 US states and 5 foreign countries.
Our clients include K-12, ABE programs, colleges and universities, community-based organizations and nonprofits, governmental agencies, workforce development, and for-profit organizations.
We operate on the belief that it is our responsibility to take action and enhance the welfare of society. This belief inspires every client and partner interaction and is core to the Mockingbird culture.
see clients and partners for more information.
- Mockingbird is committed to providing cost effective resources. We brainstorm budget options when our standard pricing may be impediment.
Donation of Profits and Services
- We offer scholarships for educators, and donate hours of consulting, trainings, and seminars to programs in need.
We Operate 'Out Loud'
- We are up front about our costs and earnings.
Buy One- Give One!
- Purchasing our products helps others in need. When you buy one of our tried-and-true Mockingbird educational products, we in turn donate a product to a low resource program.
Click here to learn more about employment opportunities.